Calbee Falls Up to 17% Amid Trading Error Speculation

Calbee Inc., a Japanese maker of potato chips, fell as much as 17 percent today, prompting the company to investigate the cause of the plunge amid speculation the trade was made in error.

Calbee lost 17 percent to 8,350 yen at 9:06 a.m. in Tokyo, its biggest drop on record, with 10,200 shares changing hands at the time. The stock went untraded afterward for about 30 minutes as bids outnumbered offers by about 18-to-1 as of 9:24 a.m. The stock later pared declines to 1.6 percent to close at 9,960 yen.

The snackmaker said it was unaware of what caused the plunge and was making inquiries with brokerages, the company’s equity department manager, Hirofumi Noine, said today. The brokerages suggested to Calbee that the drop looked like a trading error, Noine said. The Tokyo Stock Exchange hasn’t been given notice of an error and the bourse can’t confirm if this was the case, exchange spokesman Ryo Takahashi said.

“While we don’t know for sure, looking at the move in its shares, there’s a high chance it was a trading error,” said said Mitsuo Shimizu, a Tokyo-based analyst at Iwai Cosmo Holdings Inc. “There was a sudden sell order, and after shares fell to their lower limit there were immediate buy orders. If it was a normal trade, shares would fall and activity would slow down.”

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